Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro Review
The Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro Lens is a m4/3 mount equivalent to an 80-300mm f/2.8 zoom lens.
It is weather-sealed and on the larger size of micro four-thirds lenses (see more good ones here).
However, compared to full-frame counterparts, it is relatively lightweight and small. It is perfect for all kinds of uses, but I will be reviewing it from a wedding and portrait perspective.
If you are a photographer who is looking to lighten the load in your bag and on your back, but still need the perspective and convenience of a long, fast zoom – this lens along with the Panasonic Lumix G Telephoto Zoom 35-100mm (70-200mm EFL) f/2.8 are your two pro-level options.
I have found the Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro to be the best of those choices due to reach, build quality, close-focusing and more.
As you read through this review, keep in mind that in m4/3, we have a 2x crop factor. So when you see EFL, this means equivalent focal length on full-frame cameras.
This lens is essentially a replacement for the venerable 70-200 f/2.8 that is in most pro’s bags with a few caveats and an extra 100mm in reach.
With that in mind, let’s get into it.
Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8mm Pro Specs
- Outstanding build quality (excluding the lens hood)
- Incredible weather sealing
- Extra-long reach (to 300mm EFL)
- Close focusing ability (2.3′)
- Sharp wide open
- Size and weight
- Fragile lens hood
- Busy bokeh in some environments
- Focal length – 40 to 150mm (35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 80 to 300mm)
- Lens design – 16 Elements in 10 Groups
- Diaphragm blades – 9, Rounded
- Filter size – 72 mm (Front)
- Dimensions – 3.13 x 6.3″ / 79.4 x 160 mm
- Weight – 1.7 lb / 760 g
Build & Ergonomics
As a professional photographer, I tend to only look at two lines of Olympus lenses, the Premium line (excellent IQ, but non-weather-sealed and slower apertures) or the Pro line (weather sealing, superior optics, often faster apertures) that this zoom lens falls into.
The focus ring feels nicely dampened during use, and the tripod collar is solid construction. I connect my Holdfast Gear MoneyMaker camera strap to this collar to let the smaller m4/3 camera bodies dangle from the lens as opposed to putting pressure on the mount.
The barrel of the lens also features a function button that can be programmed to do many things such as ISO, digital zoom, and more. I have chosen to have it do nothing, to avoid any accidental setting changes during fast-paced weddings.
The weather sealing of the Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro Lens is of the highest quality. This lens has photographed surprise proposals in sub-freezing temps with snow falling upon it to sudden storms drenching it (and me and my clients) during outside wedding portraits with no issues.
If I had been writing this a year ago, I’d be giving the build quality of this lens a perfect score. I’d also be praising its unique lens hood design where the hood slides up and back down upon the body for easy transport.
However, I began seeing internet reports, as well as one from a friend, of this lens hood suddenly disintegrating. Then one day, my hood also did the same.
I cannot confirm this, but Olympus may have quietly fixed this issue if you purchase the Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro Lens new today. However, if your lens hood does split apart, this Canon ET-78II Lens Hood for their EF 135mm f/2.0L lens fits perfectly.
When mounted onto pro-level camera bodies such as the Olympus OMD EM1 X or the Olympus OMD EM1 II, this zoom lens autofocuses instantly even in low light.
It is extremely accurate, and I rarely have misses with this lens that aren’t my own fault.
A bonus auto-focusing feature of this lens and the other Pro line of lenses such as the Olympus 12-40 (24 to 80mm EFL) f/2.8 Pro is their close focus ability. This has enabled me to take close up details at weddings in faux macro with ease.
The Pro line of Olympus lenses also offer a manual focus clutch for quickly changing from AF to MF and back. This is great for hybrid photo and video coverage.
This is an incredibly sharp lens (even wide open) and one that edges out its closest competitor, the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm (70-200mm EFL) f/2.8 II POWER OIS Lens.
It’s a great option for studio work as well as on-location portraits.
In the world of online photography forums, one of the negatives you will read about m4/3 systems is the inability to achieve a shallow depth of field. In portraits and especially at weddings, beautiful bokeh is looked fondly upon and part of some very salable looks for clients. It should not be the sole objective, but I digress.
When you shoot with the Olympus 40-150 f/2.8 Pro Lens at f/2.8, you WILL be getting the light gathering of 2.8, but your depth of field will be f/5.6 in 35mm full-frame equivalence.
This tends to give this outstanding lens a reputation for “busy bokeh,” and I understand that sentiment.
In order to achieve that creamy bokeh look with this lens, you need to have your subject in fairly close proximity to you and the background far away.
Then you will achieve the “portrait mode to the max” look as a recent client referred to it.
Alternately, one can use the Olympus 45mm (90mm EFL) f/1.2 PRO Lens as an easier way to achieve blurred backgrounds.
I do wish Olympus would release some ultra-fast zooms such as a 35-100 f/1.8 to help wedding photographers obliterate the messy backgrounds that we sometimes cannot avoid.
If you don’t mind the occasional “busy bokeh” look (and we should all be paying better attention to our backgrounds), then you will love the image quality from the Olympus 40-150 F2.8 Pro Lens.
Value for Money
At around $1500, the Olympus 40-150 F2.8 Pro Lens is an outstanding value when compared against other pro zooms such as the Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S Lens for cameras such as the Nikon Z6 Mirrorless Digital Camera.
This Olympus Pro zoom lens will also extend your reach out to 300mm in 35mm full-frame equivalence. Combine this with the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital MC-14 1.4x Teleconverter or Olympus MC-20 M.Zuiko Digital 2x Teleconverter, and the sports/wildlife photographers get themselves up to 600mm of reach in 35mm full-frame equivalence. Quite a value, indeed.
Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 Review | Conclusion
The Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens is a workhorse zoom that will make into the kit of most micro four thirds shooters needing an 80-300mm 35mm equivalent reach. It’s great for wedding and portrait photographers as well as nature and sports.
I can’t see ever letting this one go and plan on keeping it as long as I’m shooting in the system. It’s sharp and bright and that extra reach really comes in handy at times.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.